Welcome to 2020

Tumultuous 2019 is coming to an end. There has been massive protests in Latin America, Middle east/North Africa, Asia and Europe. As the year draws to close , we look at these protests and implications in 2020.

Latin America

Latin America has been undergoing major protests in 2019. Protests in Chile, Haiti, Colombia , Ecuador, Honduras to name the few. Argentina has a new Peronist government. Bolivia underwent an US sponsored military coup which removed progressive govt of Evo Morales. Peru had a conflict between the President and congress which led to the dissolution of right wing congress. Brazil has an extreme right wing government. Let us look at these countries and possible scenarios for 2020.

1.Chile

Chile will have a referendum to elect a new constituent assembly in April. The new constituent assembly will rewrite the Pinochet constitution. Chile has one of the highest income inequalities in the world, Although the right wing will resist, Chile is expected to have a liberal constitution and subsequent elections.

2. Peru

Peru is electing a new congress in January. The election is expected to bring back extreme right wing Fujimori to power. This will undermine the moderate right wing President Viscarra and will lead to instability and protests.

3. Ecuador

President Moreno started in the moderate left and now is a right wing President. His efforts to roll back previous positive changes brought massive protests from left and native indigenous population. He subsequently climbed down. But he is expected to follow the diktat of the IMF again and will try to implement IMF recommendations . There will be major protests again.

4. Haiti

Massive protests have been going on against the ruling elite. These protests are expected to continue and the government is most likely will be overthrown.

5. Colombia

Massive protests against the right wing government. They are expected to continue and President will be removed.

6. Bolivia

Resistance against the coup will continue. Evo Morales's party MAS will most likely be banned. Coup leaders will postpone the elections and will openly exhibit their dictatorship and there will massive resistance including the middle class and indian majority . As the dictatorship is sustained by Trump and evangelical right in US, any change in US will lead to the overthrow of the right wing government in Bolivia

7. Brazil

Bolsonaro will be further weakened or will be replaced by the Vice President Mourao who is a General, if the US government changes.

8. Honduras

Protests against Narco President Hernandez will continue . Hernandez is already indicted in US courts. He will be forced out during the course of the year.


Middle East and North Africa

There are two main alliances competing for economic control of Middles east and North Africa. On one side is Turkey/Qatar alliance supported by Tunisia , Somalia and to lesser extent Algeria. This alliance is Muslim brotherhood alliance. On the other side is UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt . This alliance is primarily anti Muslim brotherhood and pro western. In three countries these alliances are in direct conflict. They are Libya, Somalia and Sudan. US , Russia and France are players on one side or other.

In another layer there is conflict between Iran and West in Iraq, Syria ,Lebanon and Yemen.

We will look at these countries and what will be the situation in 2020.

1. Libya

War between the Tripoli based Muslim brotherhood (MB) government and Benghazi based Hafter government will intensify. Turkey will participate significantly in this war on the side of Muslim brotherhood and will even have ground troops in Libya. On the other hand Egypt will have ground troops on the side of Hafter. This war may lead to the partition of Libya . If MB loses Tripoli , It is likely Algeria will directly intervene to prevent a Hafter government for strategic reasons. If Hafter loses , Al Sisi in Egypt will be in trouble. As such Libyan war has significant impact on the neighboring countries. Continuation of the war will also allow ISIS to regroup in Libya and encourage it's affiliates in Sahel region. This is already happening.

Greece is involved in Libyan war due to the rivalry with Turkey in Mediterranean sea. Similarly Russia and France are involved due to economic interests.

2. Somalia

The conflict between Somali government and Al-Shabab will intensify as Turkey and UAE are now involved on either side to control the ports in Somalia. Turkey is supporting pro MB Somali government. UAE is secretly supporting Al - Shabab against Turkish interests. Turkey is expected to increase it's support for the government.

3. Sudan

Overthrow of Al Bashir who was supporting both alliances has opened up Sudan to the competition between both alliances. interim government is charting its way . However more than two thousand Sudanese mercenaries are fighting on the side of Hafter paid by UAE/ Saudi Arabia. Sudan interim government is accommodating the interests of both alliances. On the other hand the interim government is removing Sudanese mercenaries from Yemen. These mercenaries were sent to Yemen by Al Bashir . Saudis and UAE paid for the mercenaries. Basically they have been removed from Yemen and sent to Libya to fight for Hafter as UAE considers Libya as more important than Yemen.

4. Yemen

At the beginning of 2019, primary conflict in Yemen has been between Saudi/UAE supported Hadi government and Iranian supported Houthis. Houthis have emerged much stronger in 2019 with the use of drones in asymmetrical war. In 2019, Yemeni civil war has new players with the emergence of South Yemeni independence movement (STC) supported by UAE and MB (previously part of Hadi government) supported by Qatar.

Internal fissures in Yemen is expected to continue in 2020. There will be three main players. Houthis controlling North .MB controlling central and part of South . South Yemenis controlling South . Houthis supported by Iran . MB supported by Qatar and Turkey . South Yemenis supported by UAE.

5. Iraq

There has been widespread protests in Iraq by mainly youth against corruption and inefficiency of the iraqi government. Protests are mainly in Shia south which was traditionally close to Iran. Protests are also against both Iranian and US role in Iraq. US forces are mainly in Iraq to protect US interests (including oil) . As such they act as Iraqi airforce in the fight against ISIS which is against US interests.

However , US - Iranian conflict is now impacting Iraqis . Both sides are now fighting a war in Iraq . Iran is fighting a was via its proxies which are paramilitaries in Iraqi army. By attacking Katieb Hezbollah bases US has escalated this conflict. Instead of fighting ISIS , these former cooperates are fighting each other. This will allow ISIS to regroup in 2020. On the other hand unless Iraqi government take a strong stand against US and control paramilitaries , protesters will be able to bring down the weak Iraqi government as a whole and establish an Iraqi nationalist government. US , Iraqi paramilitary war in Iraq only encourages sectarianism.

Asia

1. India

India has been experiencing massive protests recently . These protests are mainly against citizenship laws which make Muslims second class citizens. The laws are brought by Hindu right wing Modi government which is dominated by fascist Rashtriya Swam Sevak Sangh (RSS). RSS assassinated Mahatma Gandhi for his perceived betrayal of Hindus. The laws are opposed by Muslims, minorities and middle class . Protests are led by students. Middle class and sections of bourgeoisie are against Modi as there is economic slow down . Official figures show the growth down to 4% from 12% few years ago. Unofficially , some economists including former government economic advisers (Arvind Subramanium) state that GDP is actually negative .

Modi government have lost state elections and control only a minority of states. It brought the citizen laws to divert attention from serious economic problems. However Protesters understand this and will intensify the protests as economic crisis intensifies despite harsh government measures.


Published 31/12/2019